Make Performance Management About Connections

By Claude Werder, Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

When I talk to HR leaders about what keeps them up at night, performance management always comes up. Not surprising. What is surprising — well, maybe not surprising but certainly concerning – is that their questions usually surround performance reviews and ratings.

Therein lies the crux of the performance management problem. Modern performance management needs to be about managers connecting with their team members about performance and careers. The key to re-inventing performance management is reshaping manager behaviors so that coaching and developing their employees become “job 1.”

In every organization, there are excellent managers who demonstrate these qualities and behaviors. But Brandon Hall Group research shows there are just not enough of them.

Managers meet at least weekly with each team member in less than 30% of organizations. These meetings between managers and employees are commonly referred to as “check-ins.” That is accurate because most of the time the conversation is checking in on current and upcoming work. Coaching, learning and performance and career conversations take a distant back seat.

What Managers Cover with Employees During Check-Ins

Source: Brandon Hall Group Performance Management Study

These meetings need a new name. They need to be a collaboration for the mutual benefit of the company and the employee. These frequent conversations – we recommend weekly or biweekly – should be about:

The critical question is how to change the performance management mindset from its institutionalized process focus on evaluations and ratings to an employee-centric mindset of coaching and continuous development.

In many organizations, this requires a culture change that starts at the top. We’ve developed resources that can help, including a tool for making the business case for modern performance management, which includes selection of enabling performance-management technology.

Only members of Brandon Hall Group have access to these resources, but I am happy to share one with you in exchange for a few minutes of your time to discuss your performance management challenges and successes. I am always looking for new insights.  You can contact me at [email protected].

-Claude Werder, Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Claude Werder is Brandon Hall Group’s Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst. He focuses on Leadership Development and Talent Management. Brandon Hall Group is a leading research and analyst firm with Practices in Learning & Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management/Core HR.

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